The day we met she said she would be wearing a black pant suit. She likes to plan. When she asked what I’d be wearing I, of course, didn’t know. But she felt confident she would know who I was. She thinks through potential problems, arrives where she’s going early, maps out routes. I leave late, a pile of eliminated clothes on the bed.

She buys a sapphire ring to adjust to not having a husband. I cling to mine trying to learn how to live with one. She addresses me as Mrs. in handwriting like my mother-in-law’s.

She talked that day about her childhood, her youth, the mother she will not indict, and Aunt Vera, who was such a lady and how the remains of her life were handed to her in a black plastic garbage bag.

Venus girls. Lunching. Enjoying lovely scenery and new jewelry.
She scoots the photo frames about on the shelf as she talks about the children of her daughter who died, wiping dust from the photos, which she shakes from her hand as she speaks.